Helena, Mont. - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved close to $1 million in assistance to Montanans affected by flooding this spring.
Last week, President Obama approved a major disaster declaration for sixteen Montana counties and three reservations: Big Horn, Blackfeet Reservation, Carbon, Cascade, Crow Reservation, Custer, Fergus, Fort Belknap Reservation, Garfield, Hill, Jefferson, Judith Basin, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Musselshell, Petroleum, Sweet Grass, Valley and Yellowstone for damages caused by flooding that began April 4, 2011 and ended July 22, 2011.
Since the declaration, FEMA staff have been busy in affected areas encouraging residents and business owners to register by phone or online. Already, nearly 500 registrations have been received.
“Montanans are proud, hardworking people who take a lot of pride in their homes and small businesses,” said Governor Schweitzer. “We applaud the fast action by FEMA and are grateful for the help they are providing directly to our friends and neighbors to start getting their lives back to normal."
Several forms of disaster assistance are available, but everyone should first register with FEMA. Registration is best done at home, or where registrants have easy access to personal and financial information, by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585 for people with speech or hearing impairment.
Those who have been affected can also register and get information on all types of assistance by going to www.DisasterAssistance.gov. The website describes over 60 assistance programs from 14 different agencies that offer assistance to disaster survivors. Registrants can also track the status of an application online. Another way to register is by mobile device at m.fema.gov.
As of Wednesday, August 3, federal assistance to individuals in counties affected by the flooding from April 4- July 22, 2011:
- $971,901.17 in total housing and other needs has been approved.
- Of that amount, $925,587.56 has been approved for housing expenses, including temporary rental assistance, home repair costs and assistance toward replacing destroyed homes.
- $46,313.61 has been approved as “Other Needs Assistance” to cover essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses and damaged personal possessions.
- Total registered 492
"The most important thing people can do right now is to get themselves into the system by registering," said Doug Mayne, the FEMA Coordinating Officer. "FEMA staff will be in-person in some affected areas to help with questions for those registered, however everything can be accomplished over the phone or online.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low-interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations for losses not covered by insurance. No one is required to take out an SBA loan, but the application must be completed to be considered for other assistance from FEMA, such as grants to cover personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage expenses and medical and funeral costs.
The SBA may lend up to $200,000 to repair or replace homes and up to $40,000 to renters and homeowners to repair or replace personal property. Also, up to $2 million may be available for businesses for their uncompensated disaster losses. Completing and returning the SBA application is an essential step in the process of being considered for other forms of disaster assistance.
The Small Business...